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Triple whammy strikes as price of wine goes up again

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association calls on Government to stop punishing consumers as the price of wine continues to soar, according to latest industry figures.

The WSTA Market Report published today (Tuesday, Sept 12th) reveals the impact of the triple whammy price hike - with the average priced bottle of wine, sold in shops following the March Budget, hitting £5.58, up 4% on last year.

Sales of wine in our pubs, bars and restaurants show an average priced 175ml glass of wine has increased 21p compared the same period last year.

These latest figures, published on the day of the WSTA annual Conference, take into account sales between the 26th March and the 17th June 2017. They capture alcohol sales for the three months following the Budget and show the trading landscape almost a year on from the vote to leave the EU.

For the first time we can see the how prices have been affected by the triple whammy resulting from Brexit’s impact on the pound, rising inflation and the 3.9% inflationary duty rise on alcohol imposed by the Chancellor at his Budget in March.

Total volume sales of alcohol across both the on and off trade are down for the fourth quarter in a row.

This coincides with a rise in the price of all alcohol products sold in shops, compared to the same time last year. And a rise in the price of most alcohol sold in pubs, bars and restaurants, with the exception of sparkling and fortified wine.

The pain is set to continue for Brits who enjoy a tipple as well as for the wine and spirit industry, which supports over 550,000 UK jobs, as duty increases are planned in the autumn budget which will be the second rise this year.

At the last Budget the Chancellor announced “no change” to alcohol taxation policy - meaning alcohol duty will increase, year on year, in line with RPI inflation for the duration of this parliament.

If this position holds in the Autumn Budget then wine duty will go up by another 8p a bottle, spirits 29p and beer will increase 2p a pint.

Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said:

“The inflationary duty rise on alcohol – at a painful 3.9% - inflicted in the March Budget came on top of the effects of Brexit: the fall in the value of the pound, compounded by rising inflation.
The latest WSTA Market Report shows that consumers are well and truly feeling the effects of the triple whammy.

“But I am sad to say the pain doesn’t end here. The Autumn Budget is set to see alcohol duty rise by inflation once again. Unless Government starts showing support for our under-valued alcohol industry, in November we’ll find ourselves on the end of a further blow to follow up the triple whammy combination already dealt out to our industry this year. We need a time out from excise duty increases.

“The YouGov poll published in the WSTA Market Report reveals consumers’ unease at creeping costs, with 80% of people polled expressed their concern over the prospect of paying higher prices, up from 71% in February. It is time for the Chancellor to act positively by addressing the wine and spirit industry’s historically high and deeply unpopular duty levels.”

Following the EU Referendum in 2016 the UK wine industry has done its best to absorb rising import costs, but as predicted it was only a matter of time before any cushioning against the effects of a weaker pound ran out and costs were passed on to the consumer.

In three months to June the WSTA revealed that an average priced bottle of wine was at an all-time high, coming in at £5.56.

56% of the cost of the average bottle of wine is taken up in tax, including £2.16 tax and 92p VAT. Duty rates are even higher on products like English Sparkling wine at £2.77 a bottle.


Fourteen countries in the EU have zero rates for wine and therefore only 21% of a bottle of wine sold in France or Spain is taken up in tax and 19% in Germany.


Business giants take the stage at WSTA Annual Conference

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association is pleased to announce two keynote speakers at this year’s WSTA Annual Conference – the Minister of State for International Trade, Lord Price, and Wetherspoon boss, Tim Martin.

In conversation with Alex Forrest, former ITN political news editor, the two business supremoes will headline this year’s event under the title - Trading Spaces: Creative partnerships with the EU and the rest of the world.

Tickets are now on sale for the conference which is taking place on Tuesday 12 September at The Royal Institution of Great Britain, 21 Albemarle St, London, W1S 4BS.

The WSTA Annual Conference will not only keep attendees up-to-date with the latest Brexit developments, but will also stimulate fresh ideas on dealing with the challenges and opportunities ahead.

The conference will debate what needs to be done to support the industry and invite attendees to think creatively about the opportunities that Brexit may present.

WSTA Chief Executive Miles Beale said:

“We are pleased and excited to announce that this year’s WSTA Annual Conference has two business giants signed up as headline speakers.

For a global industry like wine and spirits their views on how business can survive and prosper post Brexit are guaranteed to stimulate interesting debate.

We know there will be challenging times ahead for our members and our aim is to work together to find the best way through which allows our industry’s historic trade flows to remain intact. But we need also to look to the future and global opportunities.”

Lord Mark Price joined the John Lewis Partnership in 1982. He spent 17 years on the board of Waitrose, becoming Managing Director in 2007, and was Deputy Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership from 2013.

Mark was appointed Chairman of Business in the Community in 2011 and Chairman of the Prince’s Countryside Fund in 2010. He stepped down from Waitrose in 2016 and was made life peer and appointed Minister of State for Trade and Investment. He was reappointed in June 2017.

He is also a successful author, penning books on food and on employee engagement. His most recent book, ‘Fairness for All’, was published in May 2017. Launching alongside the book, the Engaging Works website (www.engaging.works) is designed to help businesses create happier workplaces.

Tim Martin is the founder and chairman of JD Wetherspoon. His father worked for brewing multinational Guinness plc and became Malaysian marketing director. Martin was educated at eleven different schools around the globe before eventually studying law and qualifying as a barrister, which he gave up to set up Wetherspoon in 1979.

From a single pub, Tim has grown the business to the UK’s largest pub chain, which has over 900 UK outlets (plus 50 hotel) and employs over 38,000 people.

Tim was one of the few top business leaders to speak out in favour of Brexit. He welcomed the result and speaks regularly about advantages he sees for the UK drinks industry.

Tim emphasises the importance of being in touch with pub culture and what people want, which is what he says makes his business successful.

Following a “State of the Industry” address from Miles Beale, WSTA Chief Executive, and conversations with Lord Price and Tim Martin, there will be panel of experts – whose names will be released closer to the event.

The WSTA Annual Conference is the largest wine and spirit industry event and takes place in September each year.

It is a fantastic opportunity for WSTA members, potential members and guests from government associated bodies and the media to hear how the industry has being performing and of future potential trends.

UK Wine exports grow 21% in first half of 2017

Wine comes in at sixth spot in a list of the UK’s most exported food and drink products, reinforcing the UK’s status as the hub of the world wine industry.

Figures released today by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) show a 21% increase in value and a 15.4% increase in volume sales of wine from January to July 2017.

UK food and drink exports rose most sharply to South Korea, by 77%, and exports to China and Australia increased greatly too, by 35% and 24% respectively.

Overall, however, the UK’s food and drink trade with the EU is worth far more than overseas - £6.3 billion compared to £4.0 billion - underling the importance of striking the right deal with the EU in Brexit negotiations. The EU’s share of all UK food and drink exports is 61.2%.

Alongside the UK’s well known and leading global spirits position, the UK is also the hub of the global wine industry. Much of the wine that is originally imported here is then reshipped to the EU, as well as markets further afield, particularly to the Far East and countries like China, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The WSTA argues that the figures show the importance of ensuring the UK gets the right deal as it leaves the EU, one in which trade can continue uninterrupted, and wine trade agreements, like those the EU currently enjoys with the USA and Australia, can be preserved and transferred to work for the UK post-Brexit.

The WSTA is working with wine trade bodies right across Europe, particularly with Comite Vin and more globally with the World Wine Trade Group to ensure the greatest trade alignment at both a European and international industry level.

WSTA figures show that wine exports to the EU were worth £189m in 2016 alone and this year looks set to increase value further with such positive growth in the first six months.

Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, Miles Beale, said:

“The figures released today demonstrate that wine is a key export product for the UK, providing a significant contribution to British food and drink. We currently export more wine than beef or pork and at current trends we are set to overtake chocolate before long.

“The release of a customs paper earlier this week, detailing the Government’s intent to pursue an interim agreement whilst continuing negotiations with the EU over a free trade deal, is sensible. Uninterrupted trade with the EU is essential if we want to protect and increase our wine exports. It’s also sensible for EU wine makers exporting to non-EU markets via the UK, of course.

“Our industry also needs urgent clarity over the UK’s continued access to terms agreed under existing EU trade deals and wine agreements with third countries after March 2019 – particularly wine agreements with Australia and the USA, two key wine markets for the UK, as well as continuing to pursue a fast and comprehensive trade deal with the EU.

“The sooner businesses have this sort of clarity the easier a transition to a post-EU trading environment will be – when there also needs to be new bilateral trade deals of which British drinks can take advantage."

Tom King of Treasury Wine Estates joins the WSTA board

Tom King, Managing Director, Europe, for Treasury Wine Estates (TWE), one of the world’s largest wine companies, has joined the board of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

Tom has over 10 years’ experience in the drinks industry. Following five years working as an accountant at Ernst and Young he moved to Bacardi as a commercial analyst, and latterly Finance Director of the company’s Global Travel Retail business.

Tom moved to TWE in 2013, firstly as Commercial Director Global Travel Retail and then a year later as General Manager. In this time he helped establish TWE as the pre-eminent force in the wine category in Travel Retail.

In 2015 Tom was also named General Manager for the Central & Eastern European regions as well as for Global On-Premise, before being appointed Managing Director, Europe in early 2017.

The appointment is the second of 2017 following Tamara Roberts earlier in the year.

Tom King, Europe Managing Director, Treasury Wine Estates, comments:

““It is a great privilege to be appointed to the WSTA board, especially at a time of such importance to the wine and spirits industry. We are faced with several key challenges and opportunities in the coming years and I look forward to helping the WSTA frame its engagement with government and the trade over this period, as well as contributing to the great work that the WSTA does for our industry.”

Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, Miles Beale, said:

“I am delighted to be able to welcome Tom onto the WSTA Board. Tom’s experiences and knowledge in and outside the industry will invaluable, so too his contribution to navigating uncharted waters for the UK wine and spirit industry.”

WSTA calls for Government to get a grip and produce a clear plan to prevent Brexit chaos

The Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association has warned that ministers need to set aside differences and produce a clear plan for Brexit or trade will suffer.

WSTA CEO, Miles Beale, revealed “deep seated” concerns from the drinks industry about their chaotic approach to Brexit and called on them to liaise with EU Counterparts immediately after the summer.

He urged Government to “get a grip” and provide businesses with an agreed, clear, carefully thought through policy for the UK’s trading future.

The trade association, that represents over 300 companies, believes a transitional period is key, to avoid disruption to historic trade flows.

WSTA Chief Executive, Miles Beale, said:

“The wine and spirit industry has had enough of political posturing and Cabinet rifts which have led to a flurry of mixed messages over what we should expect from the Government approach to Brexit. Put bluntly we want Government to get a grip and put to rest some of the deep seated concerns facing our trade – by telling us clearly what they are going to ask for when negotiations get serious in the Autumn.

“The WSTA has argued continually for a negotiated deal including a transition period that would allow the UK to agree a Free Trade Agreement with the EU. Then the Government needs to make quick progress on other bilateral FTAs with our major trading partners. Such a transition would give businesses time to prepare fully for a post-EU trading environment.

“We have been encouraged by some recent comments made by the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, but just when you think there is a plan in place another minister comes in and contradicts it. It is simply not good enough for business needing to plan for their future and that of their employees. It has been over a year since the referendum and over four months since Article 50 was triggered. We have had nothing solid from Government since the White Paper and no coherent message about our trading future. Our industry needs to feel confident that there is an agreed, carefully thought through, plan for trade before we leave the EU. Without it businesses are just bystanders – increasingly frustrated ones at that.

“We want to see the Government getting a grip, forming a plan, communicating clearly and taking it to the EU to get a deal that works for everyone”.

Last month Miles and others from the food and drink sector relayed their concerns to the new Secretary of State for Defra, Michael Gove, at a roundtable.

Miles followed up with a letter spelling out what the wine and spirit industry needs to keep its status as a key hub for the global drinks market.

The WSTA represents an industry worth around £50 billion to the UK and supports over half a million jobs in the UK. 

The UK is an incredibly important market for the world’s wine producers. Over 99% of wine consumed in the UK is imported and in 2016 total sales amounted to more than £10bn.

The most important issue for UK wine businesses, and the 277,000 UK jobs that the industry supports, directly and indirectly, is for the UK to remain central to world wine trading post-Brexit.

Britain is by far the largest exporter of spirits in the world and the industry which supports some 296,000 UK jobs, directly and indirectly, can only invest and grow if trade flows are secure.

Over 1bn litres of UK spirits are exported to foreign markets, including more than 200m bottles of gin. Three out of every four bottles of gin imported around the world are made in the UK.

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RT @just_drinks: At @londonwinefair, the @wstauk is asking attendees for their thoughts on #Brexit https://t.co/RDkFSuyCTp


Great to see a strong WSTA board presence in - Top 100 Most Influential People in Wine. [email protected]_Miles coming in at a… https://t.co/fXlEOpEyzN


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